Harley Benton PB-20 BK Standard Series

Electric Bass

  • Body: Poplar
  • Bolt-on neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Amaranth
  • Dot-inlays
  • Neck profile: Modern C
  • 20 Frets
  • Scale: 864 mm
  • Nut width: 42 mm
  • Dual action truss rod
  • 1 PB style pickup
  • 1 Volume knob and 1 tone knob
  • Hardware: Chrome
  • Classic PB-Style machine heads
  • String thickness: 045 - 105
  • Colour: Black high gloss
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Audio Examples

 
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  • Jazz
  • Rock
  • Rhythm & Blues

Further Information

Colour Black
Soundboard Basswood
Neck Maple
Fretboard Amaranth
Frets 20
Scale Long Scale
Pickup System P
Elektronic Passive
Incl. Case No
Incl. Gigbag No

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710 Customer Ratings
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4.3 /5
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quality
Decent but problematic
Antonis Y., 22.11.2019
Let me preface the whole review by saying that, unless you can do a few jobs/repairs on the instrument yourself, get something that might have better quality control. I've been playing and setting up instruments for some odd 20 years now and I can certainly do most repairs and boy, this instrument needed quite a lot.

Starting off, the bass isn't bad. Right off the bat I checked if the truss rod was working and the truss rod nut was ok and not stripped, since I had that happen and you're going to have a bad day with that!
Everything seemed fine as far as first impressions go.

Now the cons/bad stuff/repairs that needed to be done, and let's start from the easier stuff.

First off, the strings that come stock are just plain horrible and don't do justice to the instrument. Better strings right away will definitely help.

Second, the pickup. This a ceramic split coil, not wound too hot but is quite harsh and very modern sounding. Bad thing is, it is too mid scooped and won't get the traditional P tone. However, that said, the bass is controlled and doesn't muddy up the sound and, while the treble is really harsh, it can be tamed to a beautiful result. Still, with the mids virtually non-existent, I will be changing the pickup as soon as possible. It's certainly not bad but it's not the classic P tone.

Another problem with the pickup is that it's completely anemic. Even when put the closest it can get to the strings, it's still very, very weak. And if you get it too close to the strings you get spikes/artifacts on every attack, which isn't really usable. To remedy that, until I can change it, I added ceramic bar magnets underneath the pickups. That, at least, gave it the much needed volume. But I will certainly be changing the pickup in the future.

As a little note, the pickup's screwed very wonky in there and the holes are kinda misaligned.

While speaking of the pickup, the cavity seems to be painted with some black paint. At first I thought it was conductive but, after checking with a multimeter for continuity, it is not. Which is weird, because there is a screw under there that's grounded to the back of a pot. Apparently they thought it was conductive but it certainly doesn't give any continuity readings whatsoever, I checked every spot in there.

I also found a few dents and chips on the bass.

A small detail. The fretboard was very dry. It immediately needed some lemon oil, which it soaked up very fast. Keep that in mind.

For the more bad stuff now. When trying to set it up, I found the neck pocket's too deep and needed a shim. When I removed the neck to install a shim, I found a small shim already there and a spot in the neck pocket where it was over-routed. You could clearly even make out the size of the router head used. That was certainly bad.

The neck screws were also misaligned but thankfully, this doesn't seem to affect anything and the neck and bridge are all aligned fine. No need to fill and redrill, thankfully.

The nut also was very crudely cut and the slots needed to be rounded with a small file and some graphite put in there for the strings not to bind.

Apart from that, the pickguard and the neck pocket were too tight towards the top, which made deep indentations in the neck, right below the fretboard. This is just bad quality control, instruments with flaws like that shouldn't make it out of the factory, considering there are people who can't do these jobs themselves and they can get costly, or even worse, they won't be ever discovered and you'll be playing a very badly set up instrument.

Now for the pros.

I got this bass expecting to have to do a fretjob. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. After going at it with a straight edge and a fret rocker, there are no high frets. They frets aren't crowned that well but they're ok. There was also no fret sprout.

The finish, apart from some paint chipping and dents under the pickguard and around the neck pocket was fine.

The fretboard, while very dry, has a very nice grain on it. After oiling, it shows a lot better and it's quite beautiful. I don't know what kind of amaranth wood this is (amaranth is purpleheart but this was too dark) but it's nice.

The tuners work fine, although they had some kind of plastic residue stuck and I had to disassemble them and grease them for them not to bind.
The nut, while badly cut, was at least cut with the right height. Although this, after putting a shim in the neck pocket.

All in all, it's the cheapest instrument you can get and if you can do these repairs (if they are indeed reparable) then you get a nice enough instrument. If I was buying again, I'd wait until I had more money and buy something better myself.
After repairing all the aforementioned, the bass does play really well but again, it needed a lot of work to get there and, considering the price, I doubt many newbies can do these repairs.
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Total
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Pretty Good
Troyyy, 19.12.2020
For the price this bass is great. The stock strings sounded surprisingly great (that bright fresh sound), I bought this in July and they still sound pretty bright (but I haven't played it a huge amount).

At first I found that it played pretty well but after a few weeks/months I noticed the action was too high. I need to get it adjusted, it feels hard to play.

I had to get used to the weight of it because I had been using a very light Encore bass in the same price range for like a year before it (it was loaned to me). The Encore also felt much smoother to play but I'm sure after this bass gets a proper setup + new strings it will feel smooth enough.
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After three months use - Very playable for the price
Paul.G, 02.01.2021
TLDR: Recommended for someone moving from another instrument. Great quality for the money. Output very low.

The neck quality is spot on here, no issues with frets or neck profile. The bass is very playable and sounds pretty decent. Tuning is easy and stable and intonation was pretty quick to achieve. String action is great after I lowered and intonated.

The only issue I could find with this bass is that the output is very very low. Moving the pickups closer to the strings results in the pickup screws just falling out. There doesn't seem to be a way to fix this as yet. Turning up the input on my audio interface solves the low output, but still..

Overall, for the price of this bass, I am very happy with the quality. I've been playing it now for just over three months and it certainly satisfies my needs at present for home recording. I'd definitely recommend this bass for beginners, and those moving over to bass from another instrument for the first time.
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My first Bass Guitar
Robert Smyth, 19.11.2020
I ordered the Harley Benton PB-20 as my first bass guitar. The bass guitar plus the amp I ordered came well packaged , after unboxing the guitar , a friend who is an experienced musician looked over the PB-20 and confirmed it was sent fully set up and the action be set and ready for play straight out of the box. As of now 9 months later , I have had no problems but starting to notice the sound of the strings rattling against the fret board , my musician friend will be looking at it and suggested it could be the strings need changing . It could be the action needs to be set or truss rod adjustment, which he said is normal at this 9 month period.
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95 €
Including VAT; Excluding 20 € shipping
Available immediately
Available immediately

This item is in stock and can be dispatched immediately.

Standard Delivery Times

Delivery approx. between Monday, 25.01. and Tuesday, 26.01.

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